Fastbreak: (1) Florida struggles but edges (16) Albany in 2014 NCAA Tournament

Getting more than they bargained for with the (16) Albany Great Danes (19-15) the overall top seed (1) Florida Gators (33-2) eventually led by just six at the break but pulled away in the second half for a 67-55 victory in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL.

OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin drained a three-pointer from the corner with just over two minutes remaining in the game to push Florida ahead by 12. He was inconsistent throughout most of the contest, scoring 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting (1-of-4 from deep) with four assists, three rebounds and no turnovers.

Prominent players: Senior center Patric Young achieved his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 boards but saw his flow interrupted in the second half when he picked up a third foul. Senior forward Casey Prather not just scored consistently (team-high 16 points) but also registered three blocks and two steals in the game and had one of the best defensive performances of the day.

Bountiful bench: Despite being listed as questionable entering the game, freshman PG Kasey Hill (turf toe) finished with 10 points on the afternoon. He scored eight in the second half when the Gators broke away from the Great Danes and also picked up two steals, an assist and a board. It was Hill’s first double-digit scoring game since Nov. 16, 2013 when he started for UF at home against Arkansas Little-Rock. Joining him as a big-time contributor was redshirt sophomore F Dorian Finney-Smith, who was one of two Florida players with a team-high 16 points, most of which came in the first half.

Significant stretch: Tied at 39, UF pieced together a 12-2 run – with four-straight points and a steal from Hill and a big three by sophomore guard Michael Frazier – to get a bit of breathing room and lead Albany by 10 midway through the second half. The Gators eventually increased their advantage to 12 points, which was also their winning margin.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.

First half focus: Florida and Albany had 11 lead changes and four ties in the first 20 minutes as the Gators lacked in defensive intensity and saw the Great Danes drain 10 of their first 15 shots from the field. U-Albany, however, went 2-for-11 to end the half and failed to score over the final 4:46 as UF posted six-straight points – four from Wilbekin – on the way to a 34-28 halftime advantage.

Standout stat: After starting 10-for-15 from the field, Albany hit just nine of its last 36 field goal attempts. The Great Danes tied the game once in the second half, but the Gators never lost their lead and slowly but surely pulled away for the victory.

What it means: UF improved to 15-5 in Round of 64 contests and has not been knocked out in its first NCAA Tournament game since 2010. Florida also extended their winning streak to 27 games with victories in 32 of their last 33 contests. The Gators are now 6-0 in neutral-site games this season.

Additionally, head coach Billy Donovan tied Dale Brown (LSU) for second-most wins by a coach at an SEC school (448). UF’s senior class also became the winningest in program history, tying the 2009 class (Walter Hodge) with 117 career victories.

Next up: With just about 48 hours to prepare, Florida will face (9) Pittsburgh on Saturday in third-round action at a yet-to-be-announced time. The Panthers set an NCAA record Thursday with the largest blowout victory for a nine-seed against an eight-seed when it ousted Colorado 77-48. UF is 2-4 all-time against Pitt, winning the last meeting 77-74 on March 23, 1992.

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18 Responses to “Fastbreak: (1) Florida struggles but edges (16) Albany in 2014 NCAA Tournament”

  1. Gatoralum88 says:

    Wow!!! What was that??? Billy’s post game comment summed it up. “I’m baffled with our team & that’s all I can say right now.” If they play like that Saturday they’ll be going home. That was terrible! Struggling to put away a 16-seed??? Seriously??? Also, I know he doesn’t shoot much but Yeguette needs to stop shooting PERIOD! I’ve come to the conclusion he sucks! He has absolutely NO offensive game, misses more point blank shots than anyone I’ve ever seen, & doesn’t have good hands when passes go to him down low. Also, Frazier MUST do more to get going offensively. A really disappointing start.

    • uf_84 says:

      In the words of our beloved football coach “You need to get a grip.” What you said about Wil Yeguette was completely uncalled for. He hasn’t been as effective on offense since his knee surgery last year but he’s still a demon on defense and the boards and that’s why he starts. He’s been a great Gator and he doesn’t need “fans” like you spewing that kind of crap about him.

      • TST says:

        TY .. I totally agree . Team is #1 for a reason . Will is a big part of that reason . Bash a great Gator like Will !!

      • Gatoralum88 says:

        The only reason he starts is because Billy’s loyal to his seniors almost to a fault. Here are the FACTS 84: Yeguete averages LESS points, rebounds, & minutes than DFS who SHOULD be starting. Yeguete has also shot a PATHETIC 42% from the field while taking most of his shots RIGHT UNDER THE BASKET while Frazier’s shooting 45% from 3-POINT range this year. He certainly wasn’t a “demon” on the boards today was he (1 rebound)??? As I wrote on this site in November, “Ya-get SQUADOOSH when you start Yeguete”. Just because he gives it “the old college try” doesn’t make him “great”. I doubt many consider him a “great” Gator. So, why don’t YOU “get a grip” along with YOUR “beloved” football coach (he’s certainly NOT beloved by me) & call a spade a spade! Yeguete sucks!

        • Whether Yeguete starts or not is irrelevant. Finney-Smith plays starters minutes and is a boost off the bench. Yeguete can often contribute early in halves.

          • Gatoralum88 says:

            Point taken! I’m sure that’s also why Billy does it. DFS’s starts will come these next two years but I’ve often thought had started this year they may not have had the “slow start” propensity they’ve often had this season.
            (BTW, I’m slightly insulted by my math question (3 minus 3) C’mon! I’m not FSUalum88) :) Go Gators!

        • TST says:

          how rude can you get ?point fingers often ?

        • uf_84 says:

          Whatever dude. All I know is that neither this team or any player on it deserves that kind of criticism. They play their hearts out, have won 27 strait games, play tomorrow in the second round of the big dance, and they have my 110 percent support. With “fans” like you, who needs haters?

  2. one says:

    If people thought we needed a loss before the NCAA tournament, this is about as close as it gets to that. I imagine the team is probably upset at how they played but I have faith they’ll get it together before Pitt.

    Props to the crowded Amway arena. Gator fans filled it up even if you couldn’t hear them.

  3. Tguygator says:

    WOW! Not totally unexpected w/ all the variables. They’ll rest; they’ll adjust & get use to long shot clock & not foul w/ seconds to go. These guys are winners.

  4. cline says:

    Go gators. Survive and advance

  5. Gatoralum88 says:

    Ah! Seeing Casey Prather on the cover of my latest Sports Illustrated, just realized why they struggled today! They picked UF to win it all!!! The SI jinx!!! It’s real! Go Gators!!! Beat Pitt!

  6. Timmy T says:

    Predictable game today. Zero intensity and just enough effort to win without ever really being in any danger of losing. I expect we will see a much more motivated team come Saturday.

  7. gary says:

    Survive and advance

  8. Sharon Milner says:

    I don’t think they played with intensity. Better do better in upcoming games or they will lose!

  9. erng 'n blu says:

    While I didn’t watch the game today (working) I have been following them all season/adult life. Hearing the post from above only tells me two things, 1) this team is 180 degrees different from the last 5 years as they are special, know how to win at all costs and not blow their wad because they are favored to win by a brinks truck, and 2) you guys are spoiled f**cking brats and don’t appreciate what you have. Tune in and see what happened to tOSU. This is put up or shut up for every team playing and they are going to treat every game like the end. Should we approach every game the same way, I believe we do and expect to be challenged regardless if it is a #2 seed or a #16. Every game is unique and is contested under very different circumstances. We pay Billy the $ we do because he knows how to manage those circumstances. Even if we don’t win it all, what this team has accomplished during the regular season will go down in history. On to the next….

  10. Wes says:

    It’s incredible to see “fans” criticize any player on this team. They won. That’s all that matters this time of year. Ugly wins happen. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s not like the players stopped caring or Billy stopped caring. Deal with it. We are who we are. We can dominate. We can struggle. They are young men in their early 20s. I just know that I’m more proud of this team than any other I’ve watched. Crazy respect. Because they FIGHT. Even when the shots don’t fall, when the ball bounces the other way, and the calls go against them. They don’t rely on talent and skill. They are built on heart. And it will show.

  11. gatorboi352 says:

    LOL loving all of the overreactions to this game.

    This team is Final Four ready. Anything else is crumbs to them. Struggling with Albany? How about disinterested with Albany. The fact that they completely mailed in like 34 minutes of this game and STILL won by 12 is the most impressive thing I’ve seen all year. Also, 14/18 from the FT line, so you all can quell those concerns as well.

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